“It is not until the Abbasid period that a distinct type and style of ceramic ware emerged that can be distinguished technically as ‘Islamic’.”
The most notable contribution the Abbasids made to ceramics was the development of new techniques that allowed for a wider range of ceramic designs and styles. These changes also demonstrate the considerable power and wealth of the Abbasid people. These technical develops are solely responsible for the perceived emergence of the Islam ceramics.
The first major development in Islamic ceramics was caused the imitation of Chinese porcelin designs and motifs. For example on the bowl with radial decoration the blue glaze and whiteness of the clay is replicating Chinese Kraak ware. Kraak ware is a specific style of Chinese pottery that is always made of pure white porcelin with a blue design. This style of pottery was heavily exported to Muslim countries and was population because of the foreigness of the design. Also the color blue is associated with Muhammad. In order to copy Chinese porcelin, muslim potters invented a new clay blend and glazes that could achieve the same whiteness as porcelin. The importation of Chinese pottery triggered the development of new techniques.
The second major technique development was the lustre glaze that adds a multi colored rainbow sheen to ceramics. This development gave potters more depth of color since with traditional glazing techniques only two or three glazes could be used without running the risk of blending colors. The glaze was created using one of the most expensive pigments so it’s development and application is a sign of the wealth and power accumulated by the Abbasids. One example of lustre glaze is on Dish with imaginary animals. The lustre finish adds movement to the design and draws the viewers attenion to the script inside the bird.
Another key influence in the development of a distinct islamic style of ceramics was the distribution of ceramics throughout the Muslim empire. For example in the plate with metallic glaze there are three distinct styles combined to create one cohesive design. The splash design around the edge is a style commonly seen on Chinese pottery while the vegetal design in the center is common throughout the Muslim world. These two culturally distinct styles mesh perfectly on the dish. The plate also has a lustre finish. This concept is evident in both of the past examples. Without the importation of Chinese pottery, there would not have been any inclination to immitate that specific style. Also without complex trade networks then the pigments needed to create lustre glaze would not have been avalible.